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Readers storm Verizon email blockade

Muppet of the Month award imminent

Letters This week, we'll begin with a selection from the rather large response to Verizon's decision to block all European emails by default. It says the move is designed to reduce spam (uh-huh) and despite reports to the contrary, claims that it only blocks spam messages on an individual basis:

Hi John,

To quote Bart Simpson, "The ironing is delicious" (he meant irony). I have a block in place for myself and all of my customers, to stop email from all of Verizon, due to the amount of spam coming from their own DSL network. Seems like they ought to get their own house in order before they start fingering us!

I believe they win the "Muppet of the month" award. (I just made that up cos it's a Saturday and it sounds funny!).

Good morrow :)


Right, that's enough, time to invade the idiots and put the British flag back in Washington!!!

NB: any historical errors are intentional!!


I now find myself wondering how I might contact anyone at Verizon to complain. I suppose I have to work through whois and the like. And then use snail-mail or telephone.

Do they think we're French?


Apparently not:

Just letting you know that email from New Zealand (and probably Australia too) appears to be blocked as well.

Cheers, Steve

And its not just Europe and the Antipodes:


You can see by my e-mail address that I am one of Verizon's customer victims. I recently spent over 2 weeks in the PRC (China) giving all my verizon address to contact me. Verizon blocks China as well and I have been forced to use an alternate e-mail address for communication. This is not only very embarrassing but makes me wonder how much longer I wish to remain their customer. I have had similar problems with European colleagues.

If spam-blocking is their goal then I would suggest that they block ALL American ISP's, since I believe that most spam comes from America, not Europe and not Asia. Thank you.


Should Microsoft be allowed to sell a virus clean-up tool? Hell yes! Or No. Don't ask us...


Isn't it funny how the security vendors contradict themselves?

If Microsoft really did sort itself out as the gentlemen from BlackSpider network suggests, the security vendors business would be nonexistent as it is and he could shut his business down. If you're afraid of the competition you obviously cannot compete.

The security industry as aimed at the home and small business user is only possible due to badly implemented security and code, as such companies like that should be thanking Microsoft. MS's bug-ridden code provides their bread and butter.

As to Microsoft cutting into security vendors market share, that interests me little. I want securer systems for as little cost as possible and in that sense, I don't care who I receive it from. Anything that prevents or reduces the number attack platforms, zombie-nodes and virus-incubators makes my Internet experience more pleasurable and less frustrating, no matter where it's from.

thank you and kindest regards


"Microsoft should spend more time, energy and money addressing its own security weaknesses inherent in its products, which are exploited by virus writers and hackers, and less time trying to erode the businesses of existing security vendors."

Ah, the classic trap that one can simply shift manpower around and problems will get solved faster.

We hear it open source all the time "why are you doing X when Y needs doing" and yet the person who is good at X won't necessarily be any good at Y.

or to sum it up in a homily :

I might be good at mopping up water but I can't fix a leaky roof.


Isn't this rather like buying a condom with holes at both ends and then having to buy a course of penicillin from the same person?

Mahatma Coat

(yes, we know it is a joke name, but what can you do?)

A warning not to use a toilet brush for personal hygiene seems rather unnecessary to us, as it did to the voters in the Wacky Warning Label contest over the other side of the pond. Sadly, it seems there is a need for such warnings. Oh. My. God.

The toilet brush warning against being used for personal hygiene may not be as dumb as it would immediately seem. I've read in the past that some hugely overweight people actually do use them for it.


Re stupid warnings...I just got married and one of my wedding cards from my work colleagues had a warning sticker on the back "Do not give to children under 36 months". I've heard of child brides, but that would be ridiculous...


I expect you're going to get a lot of these, but my personal favourite 'wacky warning' is on the back of a bottle of _baby_ cough syrup: "May cause drowsiness. If affected do not drive or operate machinery." ( for example). I wonder if rat poison will start to warn: 'May cause death. Do not operate high performance military aircraft if ingested'?


This weekend I saw one of the hammiest warnings ever - pick up a Tesco's pork joint and look at the label for 'CAUTION - This product contains raw meat". I really wonder how we ever coped without cautions like that - is the world really full of people who sue Tesco's for being duped into buying a raw pork joint in the raw pork section? Can they really warrant the time and effort in thinking these cautions up and printing them? Can I sue them because there is no caution that the contents contain pork product? Can a vegetarian sue them because there is no caution that it is unsuitable for them? Can I sue them because I didn't realise a pig had to die and it's made me very sad and angry that they've murdered a poor animal just for profits? Or is it just acceptable to sue them for selling raw meat cunningly disguised as raw meat....


Finally our thanks to all the readers who pointed out the warning on the iPod shuffle website. Absolute class.

Caution: do not eat ipod

This next complaint is really too tame and well-spelled for a flame. Perfect for Letters though:

normally i like reading the register, i find the quality of the journalism professional and to the point...

today i read this opening line from you article about BT's broadband crash which begins:

"BT's broadband service went titsup this afternoon"

So it went "titsup" did it? What kind of lingo is that? Are we all a bunch of fat computer geeks down the pub now admiring the bird's tits and talking about things going "titsup" because we're all Jack the lad and we like to slip the word tits in wherever possible?

Do you think by using the word "titsup" it makes your article appear slightly playful / cool? In actual fact it just makes you look like some bearded wanker who can't get a girlfriend who probably shouts "Waayyyyyy" when the barman drops a glass.

Stop acting like a dick, start acting like a journalist.


Erm, soon as someone clearly defines the difference, we'll give it some thought.

More trouble (which we've now sorted) in relation to the Panix domain hijack:

As a long-time vulture spotter, I was very disappointed to read your story.

It had one glaring inaccuracy, it failed to take note of the really critical matter that's worthy of being printed, and as far as I can tell you made no effort to contact us before printing it (though I will admit that the situation here has been difficult and I might be unaware of such an attempt).

The major error is that we were not simply inattentive to a notification of transfer, as you claim ("Panix... apparently fell foul of these rules."). Even the new streamlined rules require an active confirmation to the gaining registrar. Furthermore, the losing registrar (Dotster) did not receive notice of transfer, as required.

The critical point that you missed, therefore, is that the registry system is broken. It's been hacked, or abused from the inside. The full scope of this exposure isn't yet known. It's incumbent on Verisign and the registrars to fix their software and systems so that this can no longer happen.

There's a lot more to this story that what you (and now I) have said, but much of it's still to be learned. We and many others are working on it.

There's also plenty more that's already known, that can't yet be discussed because it could compromise the investigation. Over the next few weeks, I'm sure that plenty of interesting details will emerge.


Thanks for writing Alexis. We've updated the story and we look forward to hearing those juicy details as they emerge.

Lastly, a reader mourns the passing of Quicken:

I'm sure that I keep hearing that the reason GNU/Linux can't take the desktop for many users, is their dependency upon Quicken, and the fact that GNUCash/etc are not up to the same standard?

If Quicken is killed off, where do these users stand? Is QuickBooks really better? £70 better? Is a F/OSS version worth the £60 incentive for someone to do some (real, actually improve the software) work on GNUCash?

If GNUCash got its act together - it holds some promising cards, but it doesn't seem to have acquired any /useful/ new features for years, just holding pace with the latest and greatest GNOME libraries (to no apparent benefit for the end user, other than "rpm-hell", or compilations headaches) - surely it could get some significant increase in its user base from this - and, in turn, give some of the "need Windows for Quicken" users an opportunity to change their OS.

I've always got the impression from the GNUCash developers that they're more interested in making themselves seem 'knowledgeable and important' than in getting a useful product out there - even after the changeover a couple of years ago.



Back on Friday. ®

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